Women In Construction UK Magazine asked Amie Owen’s a Building Surveyor for CBRE Ltd to comment about her thoughts on the importance of encouraging the younger generation of women into the industry
Is there a gender imbalance within the construction industry – absolutely. But the great news is that things are changing for the better.
Thankfully, the bad old days of women being solely responsible for making the tea and being wolf-whistled at on site are well and truly behind us – and it is now widely recognised that woman make an extremely valuable contribution to the construction sector.
It’s clear that the construction industry offers both men and women fantastic career opportunities however a sizable proportion of females within the industry appear to have arrived here later in life than their male colleagues. These women have often come via a convoluted route of higher education having been unable to determine their ‘calling’ at school age. This begs the question – is the industry’s reputation as a man’s world forming a barrier as strong as any (man-made) wall?
There is no doubt that a successful team requires a good mix of people. Women can often bring a different set of skills and characteristics to a male dominated team resulting in a much more dynamic way of working.
My own company, CBRE prides itself on being the first real estate advisory firm to achieve the ‘National Equality Standard’ and demonstrates this through its commitment to flexible working practices, talent development programmes and mentoring schemes. An extensive schools programme has helped to achieve a 50:50 gender split of graduate and apprentice recruits and the number of women being awarded senior management positions is visibly increasing.
There is still a long way to go before we see true equality throughout the wider industry, but let’s not dwell on what is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. If employers continue to empower women in the industry to show what we can really do then the younger generation will soon see that there is a rewarding career available on the other side of that metaphorical wall.
Amie Owen BSc (Hons) MRICS